Yakut jewelry

Yakut jewelry

Jewelry played a significant role in the costume of Yakut women.
Yakut jewelry was worn over a fur coat. The fur-lined coat clung tightly to her chest and back, extending from the waist down to the floor. The sides met in the middle of the chest with a joint. Fur coats were made of broad cloth strips of red, green, yellow and black colors.

The clothing was decorated with bright embroidery, beads, silver and appliques. In the clothes of the rich population, good fabrics and bright finishes were used. The design of clothing for the rich and the poor was the same. Both types of outerwear, combined with a high fur hat and metal ornaments, were the national exit costume of the Yakut woman of the XIX century.

Yakut jewelry of the XIX century

Restrained in color, massive metal jewelry combined with bright, colorful clothing made up a complete, sustained in style composition. Yakut women wore a necklace and a headdress with chains hanging on the chest and back, a series of chest pendants, wide bracelets, massive earrings, rings and belts with pendants made of personal items. A specific decoration of the Yakut costume was silver chains made of openwork plates, which descended in wide ribbons from a metal neck band. Or with a headband made of tinsel. They created rich back and chest ornaments.

Central series of chains that fall from the head band, framing the face and connecting on the chest with a large round plate. They ended with patterned pendants interspersed with beads. The same complex-shaped pendants completed a series of chains that reclined on the back. The round plate, symbolizing the sun, was richly decorated with engraved or blackish ornaments. The chains of such jewelry numbered two hundred, three hundred or more links and were distinguished by a variety of patterns. In general, for this type of jewelry, the pendants never made a monotonous impression.

Neck Jewelry

Just as different were the pendants of neck necklaces of the hryvnia type. Hryvnia as jewelry was preserved by the Yakuts until the XX century. In the XIX century, the most common were the Yakut hryvnia of two types: plate and round in the section. The ends of the plate hryvnia usually did not close, but were bent in the form of loops and tightened with straps. A pattern was engraved on the front of the hoop.

A rectangular plate with an engraved, sometimes openwork surface was attached to the front. The upper edge of it was cut in a semicircle, in the shape of a hoop, and chains were suspended from the lower edge, which were fastened together at the bottom.
The hryvnia of another type was a cast, massive, round ring with a screw-like thread. Long chains of openwork or engraved links were suspended from it, reaching almost to the knees. The shapes and patterns of the links are very diverse. The chains ended in a series of links that tinkled melodiously as they walked.

All the pendants were often thrown over the chest, forming a solid metal chain mail. This decorative effect was further enhanced in the costume of the girls, who wore a neck necklace and a headdress with pendants in combination with the hryvnia. Hryvnia with a series of chains was the main and most characteristic, but not the only decoration of a rich Yakut woman.


An important accessory of the Yakut costume, both for women and men, was a belt belt trimmed with engraved plates. The central, larger plate was particularly richly ornamented. Small household items were attached to the belt on both sides: handbags, numerals, needler, knives,splinter, flint.

By the end of the XIX century, when belts were replaced by sashes, these items turned into decorative elements of the costume decoration. On the sides of the outer clothing below the waist, cords were sewn with large beads and silver tubes. On them were suspended metal objects that had lost their utilitarian purpose and were supplemented with purely decorative trinkets: bells, bells, weights.

Yakut dresses

In the XIX century, Yakut women wore large silver crosses with engraving, decorated with numerous pendants, over their dresses on wide, long openwork chains. These crosses, made in the Yakut style and widely distributed. It’s were not only a religious symbol, but also quite spectacular decorative decoration.

Yakut jewelry
Breast ornaments, the “grivna with pendants” type. Silver, metal, glass, corals. Fretwork, engraving.

Everyday widespread jewelry was metal cast hanging earrings with pendants, modeled after the Russians, which replaced the Yakut bead earrings at the end of the XVIII century, as well as rings of a very simple shape, worn on the ring fingers of both hands. The ends of the rings in many cases were not sealed, which allowed them to freely change their size. On both hands, wide, hand-shaped bracelets in the form of cuffs were worn.

Bracelets are one of the main types of jewelry for Yakut women. The ends of the bracelets were bent in different directions, which made it possible to easily fasten them.

In the XVIII century, copper was used for jewelry, in the XIX — silver, mostly low-grade, imported or obtained from the melting of Russian coins. Among the technical and decorative methods of processing, casting, engraving, coining, blackening, and notching with relief coinage were widely used.

Silver jewelry was created by local blacksmiths. Blacksmithing, which had reached a high level of development, occupied an important place in the economy and culture. Metalworking — an ancient occupation of the Yakuts-in the middle of the XIX century reaches the highest degree of its development. Yakut craftsmen created a number of remarkable works of jewelry art at this time.

Form of jewelry

In the expressiveness of Yakut jewelry, a significant place belongs to the form of jewelry, their architectonics and harmonious proportions. Solid, clear, concise forms of Yakut jewelry give the impression of strict restraint. This impression is achieved to a large extent by the color of the products, based solely on the color of the metal and only occasionally enlivened by colored beads.

The composition of ornaments of Yakut jewelry is of significant artistic interest. The ornamentation of metal jewelry is based on the principles of symmetry. The ornament, which has a complex curved character (curls, waves, spirals, arcs, palmettes, meander), tightly covers the surface, outlined by linear frames and concentric circles. A specific and widespread element of the Yakut ornament is the two-horned lyre.

The Russians had a great influence on the development of the Yakut blacksmithing and jewelry craft. From the Russians, the Yakuts adopted some technical techniques, as well as decorative motifs. The artistic value of Yakut metal jewelry consists in the expressiveness of their ornamental decor.